US Congress unveils $1.3tn spending package

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House Speaker Paul Ryan

Washington : The US Congress has unveiled a massive bipartisan $1.3 trillion spending package that will keep the government funded until the end of September and has President Donald Trump’s support, the media reported.

But it was not immediately clear whether the proposal will pass Congress in time to avert a government shutdown on Friday at midnight, reports CNN.

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Lawmakers on Wednesday night agreed on funding levels for every corner of the government with $700 billion budgeted for defence and $591 billion slated for non-defence spending, but the legislation also include policy riders like a bill that incentivizes state and federal authorities to report more data to the country’s gun background check system called “Fix NICS”.

The rush now was to move the legislation as quickly as possible.

Lawmakers have until Friday at midnight to pass the bill before the government runs out of money.

The House is expected to vote on the plan later this week but the main obstacle will be whether the Senate can move fast enough to avert a shutdown given its rules.

If one lawmaker objects, it could force Senate leaders to run out the clock and even face a temporary shutdown into the weekend, reports CNN.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said that while “no bill this size is perfect”, this one strengthens the country.

“No bill of this size is perfect… And we must reform our broken budget process to return to a regular appropriations process. But this legislation addresses important priorities and makes us stronger at home and abroad,” Ryan said early Thursday morning.

The spending package includes additional money that could be used to fund a controversial New York and New Jersey infrastructure project.

It also contains the Taylor Force Act, which would cut off US aid to the Palestinian Authority until the government there ceases payments to families of terrorists.

—IANS

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